Washington wolf

A King County, Wash., judge will decide whether more wolves in northeast Washington can be eliminated. They have been killing cattle.

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking comments on how to manage a thriving wolf population.

The department will take what it hears at open houses and online and begin work on a post-recovery plan.

The initial comment period, the first step in a process that the department anticipates will take several years, ends Nov. 1.

“We know that Washington wolves are doing well, and it’s our responsibility to be prepared to help wolf and human populations coexist in the same landscape,” Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind said in a statement.

Fish and Wildlife set statewide recovery goals in 2011. The plan the department has started working on will guide wolf management once the goals are met. Unless the goals change, recovery may be years ago.

The wolf population has grown an average of 28% a year since 2008, according to Fish and Wildlife. At the end of 2018, the state had at least 126 wolves, the department said.

The state’s goals are based on the widespread distribution of breeding wolves, not overall population.

Wolfpacks have filled in northeast and southeast Washington. The department, however, has not documented any wolves reproducing in the South Cascades and Southwest Washington.

The state’s wolf policy would be more important if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service follows through on plans to take wolves off the federal endangered species list throughout the U.S. Wolves in Central and Western Washington are now federally protected.

Comments on what a post-recovery plan should cover can be given at open houses or on an online survey.

Fish and Wildlife will host a webinar 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 on the department’s website, wdfw.wa.gov.

Here is the schedule for the open houses:

Spokane: 6 to 8 pm. Sept. 3, Spokane Community College, Lair Student Center, 1810 Green St.

Colville: 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 4, Agriculture and Trade Center, 215 S. Oak St.

Clarkston: 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 5, Quality Inn and Suites, Half Mahogany Room, 700 Port Drive.

Chelan: 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 11, Chelan Fire Station, 232 E. Wapato Ave.

Pasco: 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 25, Franklin PUD auditorium, 1411 W. Clark St.

Selah: 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 26, Selah Civic Center, 216 S. First St.

Mt. Vernon: 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 7, Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 10441 Bayview-Edison Road.

Issaquah: 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 8, Eagle Room, City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

Kelso/Longview: 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 9, Red Lion Hotel and Conference Center, 510 Kelso Drive.

Morton: 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10, Lyle Community Center, 700 Main St.

Olympia: 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 15, Natural Resources Building, Room 172, 1111 Washington S.E.

Goldendale: To be determined.

Port Angeles: 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29, Peninsula College, House of Learning, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Montesano: 6 to 8 pm. Oct. 30, Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main St.

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